What’s in your doghouse?

Being Wild at Work, while rewarding and totally worth it, is not easy. Often, the easier choice is to tuck your head and carry on, without the added attention of whether or not you feel aligned with your Wild spirit while trying to get a bunch of work done.

Still, being Wildly Present is the path to attending to all that needs to get done…and feeling whole in the process.

You know where I’m going here… if you are struggling with staying present, it’s time to call in the dogs! Specifically, Scrapper.

Our best lead dog, Scrapper, has a strange habit right before she pulls the sled. We put her harness on her, and instead of jumping around howling, like all of her sled dog companions, she dives in her doghouse. We used to pull her out of the house, because we knew she wanted to go. We’d hook her up, and begin our run. But one day we decided to wait and see what she would do if we didn’t pull her out of her doghouse. It wasn’t long, maybe a minute or two, that she remained in her house. Then, she would emerge. Shaking with excitement and enthusiasm.

Now, I don’t know what she was doing in that doghouse, but I know she was getting psyched. And we quickly learned that she did an even better job pulling the sled and leading the team if we gave her those few minutes in her doghouse before we began.

So what does this have to do with being Wildly Present at work?

Scrapper’s wisdom is clear. In order for each of us to bring ourselves back from “destructive busy” to “productive busy,” we need to know “What’s in our doghouse?” What are the things, in just a few minutes, that can help bring us back from feeling distracted, isolated, or just not motivated, to a sense of excitement, connectedness, and love for our work?

This will be different for everyone. For some, a doghouse moment is getting outside and taking a few deep breaths. For others, it might be listening to music, either to pump them up or calm them down. For others, it’s taking a moment to remember why they chose this profession and the clients they’ve known. The list can go on and on.

Now it’s your turn.

This is a great technique for keeping yourself and your team motivated and engaged. At your next team meeting, talk about what is in each other’s doghouses. Listen, ask questions, and help each other come up with a number of things that nudge each of you back to being Wildly Present when you’re struggling. Really take some time with this. The more you know each other and what’s in your doghouses, the more you are able to support one another, and perhaps suggest a technique from someone’s doghouse if they are having a hard time.

Often when we are struggling the most, it is the hardest time to remember our doghouse. Having a co-worker remind and encourage us to take a few minutes to re-align ourselves can work wonders.

Scrapper’s wisdom reminds us of the power and importance of being Wildly Present: the practice of giving our undivided attention.

Chris Heeter